8 Administrative Resume Mistakes You Should Avoid

resume mistakes

As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When you’re job hunting, it's your administrative resume that provides that first impression. You can't afford to fall victim to avoidable resume mistakes.

You never know how much competition you’ll face for a job opening, and just one error on your administrative resume can be a deal breaker.

Here are eight common resume mistakes that can prompt hiring managers to hit the delete key — and that can keep you from landing administrative jobs:

1. Failing to proofread

Every company out there hiring for administrative jobs is looking for administrative professionals who are detail oriented. You can’t really claim that you are if your resume has typos, grammatical errors, misused words or other mistakes. Knowing how to spell matters. Look up words you're not sure about, and also use a spelling checker. Even if you review your administrative resume multiple times, have friends and family take a look for any resume mistakes, too.

2. Sending everyone the same administrative resume

An employer asking for strong Excel skills is going to be looking at your resume differently than an employer who is wanting to hire someone with the ability to support executives who travel frequently. You’ll want to highlight aspects of your background that suit each job opening, and that means customizing every administrative resume you send out.

3. Sharing a boring list of job duties

Good resumes are interesting and leave hiring managers eager to talk to you. Make sure you’re shining the best possible light on what you did in previous jobs. For example, when your resume states that you “updated 32 presentations last year for a team of six deadline-driven marketing professionals,” it's far more impressive than if it states that you “updated presentations as needed.”

Also note any accomplishments, such as winning an internal award or saving the company money.

You must do more than avoid resume mistakes to land administrative jobs. See what skills are required to be a successful administrative professional today.


4. Being vague about your past administrative jobs

Provide sufficient detail so hiring managers aren’t wondering what exactly you did in your last job. What does it mean when you say you “supported the accounting team”? Managers won’t put in the effort to figure it out.

5. Using funky formatting

When it comes to formatting your administrative resume, less is more. Keep it simple and avoid creative flourishes, like fun fonts. Keep the attention on the content of your resume.

Get more tips for writing a strong administrative resume by reading “Resumania™,” our roundup of real-life resume mistakes and application errors so you know what to avoid.

6. Providing irrelevant information

Your administrative resume should focus on skills and experience tied to the job opening. There’s no need to mention that you're an avid skier or like crossword puzzles, and definitely avoid citing political or religious activity. It’s ok to note that you have experience volunteering as long as it adds to your professional value.

7. Going overboard with industry jargon

You can’t assume your administrative resume will end up in the hands of a fellow admin. A department leader or HR professional may take the first look, so avoid using acronyms or terminology they may not understand. There are words to use in a resume — and some to avoid.

8. And the worst of resume mistakes: lying

This should go without saying, but it’s important to mention because some people do try to stretch the truth. Good resumes are accurate ones. Changing the dates of employment to cover up a gap in your work history or saying you’re an expert with PowerPoint when you’ve only used it twice can have serious consequences.

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This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated to include more current information.

More advice for writing an administrative resume